Nineteen Dublin properties searched in gangland raids

High value luxury cars, jewellery and an estimated €30,000 in cash seized

 

A major Garda operation directed at Dublin-based members of an international crime gang has resulted in the seizure of 29 high value luxury cars and six motorbikes.

A number of items of jewellery which are believed to be of considerable value and cash in excess of €30,000 have been seized.

A pub in the north inner city part-owned by a key target of Wednesday morning’s raids was also searched.

The co-ordinated searches, which are mainly centred in the inner south-west Dublin suburb of Crumlin, began before dawn when search warrants for houses and commercial properties were executed in surprise raids.

A total of 19 premises were raided including a car sales company, pub and 11 residences.

The remaining six locations are the offices of financial and legal professionals that have been used by gang members, mainly to complete property transactions.

Wednesday’s operation was organised by the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) and is targeting members of the international drugs gang led from Spain by Christy Kinahan.

That gang has recently been embroiled in a gun feud in Dublin with their rivals, who are based mainly in the north inner city and are linked to murdered criminal Gary Hutch (34).

Wednesday’s operation against members of the Kinahan gang was aimed at identifying assets of questionable provenance, such as luxury vehicles, for immediate confiscation.

And senior officers in Cab were also hopeful of finding evidence, including legal and financial records, that would unravel money laundering and investment of the proceeds of crime.

Garda sources said all of the main criminals targeted were in their beds when the operation began.

The Irish Times understands the Garda has been engaged in close surveillance of those Crumlin-based members of the Kinahan gang who were linked to David Byrne, the 33-year-old Crumlin man shot dead in an attack by an armed gang at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, north Dublin, last month.

Those key targets whose homes were raided on Wednesday were in the UK and had returned home to Dublin on Tuesday.

A number of BMW, Golf, Jeep and Mercedes vehicles were seized this morning from the car sales business in west Dublin that has been the scene of intense Garda activity.

Senior Garda sources said by the time the operation is completed the number of high value cars seized would reach at least 15.

In the Crumlin area there was also intense Garda activity in the areas of Kildare Road, Windmill Road and Raleigh Square where several houses of people linked to David Byrne were searched.

Documents and data devices were seized from the target criminals’ homes and the professionals’ offices raided and these will be studied to determine if they contain evidence on which a wider Criminal Assets Bureau case could be based.

The raids were in the planning stages before Byrne was shot dead but his killing and the revenge murder of Eddie Hutch three days later accelerated the Cab’s plans for the searches.

Byrne was shot dead at a boxing tournament weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on Friday, February 5th, by a group of men dressed in mock Garda SWAT-style uniforms and armed with handguns and AK47s.

He was killed in revenge for the murder of Gary Hutch by the Kinahan gang in Spain last year. And three days after Byrne’s murder, 58-year-old taxi driver and father of five Eddie Hutch was shot dead at his home in the north inner city simply because he was related to Gary Hutch.

When David Byrne’s funeral took place 10 days after his murder, his funeral was the scene of a display of wealth – including the hiring of 12 Mercedes limousines – that caused public disquiet.

Garda sources said while Wednesday’s operation may have the effect of reminding the public and the gang members that organised gangs’ assets were always being examined, David Byrne and his associates linked to the Kinahan gang have long been a target of Cab.